Parents’ lack of funds for personal care items can be a trigger for teasing

West Valley middle school students involved in the Peer Assistance Leadership (PAL) program are seeking donations of laundry detergent, body wash, deodorant and related items for students who endure bullying because of body odor, so they have access to clean clothes and toiletries before they go back to school from winter break.

Participants in PAL, a Catholic Charities program, are trained in the peer helping model, which includes communication, group dynamics, active listening and problem-solving. These “tweens” and early teens have identified a problem many adults have not recognized in body-odor related bullying, though some parenting guides advise parents to make sure their kids don’t have hygiene issues which could make them a target.

As many as one in five students have limited access to clean clothes, because their families don’t own washer/dryers (or can’t afford the electricity to run them), have limited access to laundromats, or can’t afford detergent or body soap. Many stay home rather than deal with the embarrassment or the bullies who single them out for hygiene issues beyond their control.

These kids need soaps and toiletries including:

  • Laundry detergent/dryer sheets
  • Deodorant/body wash/soap/shampoo
  • Loofahs/washcloths/sponges

PAL participants have identified two campuses where this problem is particularly prevalent, K-8 schools in Phoenix and Glendale, and are reaching out to anyone in the community who can donate the supplies or gift cards which can be used to purchase them, or even help purchase washer/dryer units to install at the schools for students’ use.

Donations can be dropped off at Catholic Charities’ offices, 4747 N 7th Ave. in Phoenix. For more information on how to help contact Linda Tailleart, director of volunteer services at [email protected] or (602) 650-4837.

Founded in 1933, Catholic Charities provides care for the vulnerable of all faiths in Phoenix and northern Arizona through programs in foster care, early start education, housing, veteran services, refugee relocation and poverty reduction. Learn more by visiting Social connections include and